MEMPHIS (AP) – Jordan Spieth kept a clean card and clean pants, even without having to roll them up to his calves on a rain-soaked course. He opened with a 7-under 63 on Thursday for a one-shot lead in the FedEx St Jude Championship.
Spieth chipped in for eagle and made a key par putt on the 17th to take his first 18-hole lead on the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour since the Sony Open in January. He missed the cut the next day in Honolulu. That won’t be possible at the TPC Southwind – the 70-player field has no cut.
The start to the PGA Tour postseason was sloppy one. Storms dumped two inches of rain in the early morning that caused a delay of just over two hours and players sent off on both sides. The greens were soft but fast. The TPC Southwind was soggy and muddy.
It was not the best day to be wearing white pants. Tom Kim, who knows a little about mud, probably should have known better. He decided to roll up his pants to make them look like capris. He was briefly tied with Spieth until a late bogey sent him to a 64.
“I didn’t want to get myself dirty,” Kim said. “Just don’t like it. I’ve had a really bad week once this year, so just trying to stay away from it, really.”
It was more like one bad day at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship. He went into a marshy area to look for his tee shot, slipped and emerged with his shirt and pants covered in mud.
Kim is packing light for the three-week stretch of FedEx Cup playoffs.
“I had to make sure I was able to use those pants for a really long time, so I had to make sure they stayed really clean,” he said.
Collin Morikawa had six birdies for a 65 to join Emiliano Grillo two shots behind. That’s USD6,000 for relief efforts from the Hawaii wildfires – he has pledged USD1,000 per birdie during the playoffs. Morikawa’s grandparents were born in Lahaina and once had a restaurant on Front Street, which closed many years ago.
Jon Rahm had dirty pants and a scorecard to match. The number one seed in the chase for the USD18 million FedEx Cup bonus, he was going along fine until hitting his tee shot out-of-bounds on the par-5 16th hole and had to salvage a bogey. Two holes later, he drove into the water and nearly found the water again on his third shot at the 18th. That was a double bogey.
His front nine – Rahm started on number 10 – wasn’t much better with three bogeys that led to a 73. He ended with a three-putt bogey.
Rahm played alongside the next two top seeds, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, each posting a 67. Scheffler was two over early and responded with six birdies over his last 12 holes.